Run Report #232 – By Abby Davies

A view from the back …

With the Oxford half marathon tomorrow, I dropped an email over to Harborough HQ offering to be tail walker and run report writer – one where I keep my legs moving, the other I can be firmly sat down for!

My average time at parkrun usually means my starting point is slap bang in the middle between 25 and 30 minutes and it’s fair to say that it can get quite busy so to have the opportunity to watch parkrun unfold from the back felt really rewarding.

As tail walker, you generally see every runner, walker and marshal out on the course. You get to say well done to the fastest runners and offer encouragement those that are struggling, while thanking the marshals as you pass.

We were joined by who I think might be Market Harborough parkrun’s youngest participant – at just two and a half months’ old! It can’t be that bad – looking around at everything going on for the first lap, napping for the second and then waking up in the last half a mile to a cheer through the finish line.

Turns out as tail walkers we were also in the perfect position to watch the 1.59 marathon attempt by Eliud Kipchoge successfully complete his attempt and 15 minutes or so into parkrun we saw him cross the line!

And next time you’re looking to rest your legs, why not try tail walking for a refreshing view of parkrun.

 

Run Report #229 – 21st September by Joseph Kula-Przezwanski

What a glorious morning in the sunshine to be a special “posh” parkrun. Fellow RD Lisa (Duke of Edinburgh co-ordinator), gets married today, she didn’t make it but we sent her off in style!! With Simon wearing his wedding outfit. And many people joining in with their “posh frocks and suits”.

I started running parkruns with my parents and we’ve tried to do as many as possible, San Francisco and Waterford in Ireland were probably the highlights, but Welland park if also good!

I’m doing my Duke of Edinburgh Silver and loved volunteering for my bronze last year.

I did a lot of roles last year but this year I’m really excited to be writing the run report and also training to be a VI guide as I think this is fantastic for the parkrun.

So, this brings me to the run today. It was the most amazing weather for mid-September. The support from marshals and other runners was brilliant – the power boosting high-fives and bell ringing on Austin’s corner were much needed. So many smiles as well as you will see from the photos.

We’ve also started to include pacers who run/walk to get everybody to start the parkrun which is great. It’s such an inclusive event and if you think of all the parkrun’s all over the world that are happening, how many people has this got running!

The nice weather brought out the crowds, the first finisher was a first timer at MH and then second and third both set new PBs.

Amazingly 60 new PBs were gained of the 351 runners/joggers/walkers who took part, with a 26 being first timers! Hope we can get everyone back again. Over 128 runners have completed more than 50 parkruns and 2 people have done 310 runs, an amazing number.

We also can’t forget the great effort by all the volunteers who mean that we can run these events every week. Please sign up if you feel that you can help out, I love volunteering.

 

Run Report #228 – 14th September by Anna Wright

I started volunteering at parkrun around seven months ago for my Duke of Edinburgh Award. A friend suggested that parkrun would be a good way to complete the volunteering section of my Duke of Edinburgh Award. But at this point I really had no idea what parkrun really was, apart from that it involved running around Welland Park!

So I got up early and rather reluctantly my first week. I was very nervous but soon the spirit and tight community within parkrun was very welcoming.

I quickly learnt that each week the volunteers would get a different job. So that everyone would have the chance to try all the jobs – and not just your favourite job! This was a good system and it meant I got to try all of the jobs within my seven months at parkrun.

Each week I felt more confident doing my roles. And gradually I managed to try all the roles – most of which were successful! It has been a great journey over these seven months and I am very grateful to everyone there who made the environment feel so welcoming. parkrun has enabled me to gain a lot of confidence in trying different jobs and responsibilities, so much so that I went from a nervous marshal on my first week to a Run Director and Run Report writer on my last. I enjoyed all the roles that I tried, however parkrun is nicer when it is not raining!

I really have enjoyed my time volunteering at parkrun, and each week I was paired up with someone lovely to complete the jobs at hand. parkrun is a brilliant event and I love that it works so that everyone can be involved, whether they are running or volunteering. Thank you to everyone at parkrun for making it such a special event each week.

Anna Wright

 

Run Report #225 – 24th August 2019 by Heather Thompson

What a glorious morning in the sunshine to be Tail Walking!

 

When I offered to write this week’s run report, I hadn’t realised that it also marked the 3-year anniversary of my very first parkrun, also at Market Harborough.  My parkrun attendance for the first 2 years had been sporadic.  My partner Paul is a keen golfer and preferred to tee off first thing on a Saturday morning, meaning I was looking after our son Mackenzie.  But in the last year, thanks to a change in his golfing plans, I’ve been able to run most weeks, resulting in several PBs and a desire to be involved in parkrun as often as I can.

 

A few months ago, Paul needed to play early and I didn’t want to miss out on parkrun, so I decided to volunteer both myself and Mackenzie to Marshal.  I didn’t know if he would be bored and just want to go and play in the park or if it would be a success.  Thankfully, he loved it!  Lots of high-fives were given and he wanted to volunteer again. S o, I made him the promise that we would volunteer once every month.

 

A friend suggested that Tail Walking is one of the best volunteer roles, mostly because it counts as a completed run as well as a volunteer credit.  But I think it’s great for other reasons too.  When I’m running, trying not to run into people on lap 1, watching for those overtaking on lap 2 and gasping for breath, hoping for a PB on lap 3, I don’t manage to look around and appreciate just how beautiful Welland Park is, especially by the water.  I don’t manage to always acknowledge the volunteers stationed at various points on the course who have given up their time and recognise that, without them, parkrun cannot happen as safely and as efficiently as it does and I didn’t realise the importance of the Tail Walking role.

 

The Tail Walker’s job description is easy to explain – this volunteer is the last person to cross the finish line and the last person throughout the event to ensure that no parkrunners are still on the course when the timing systems are shut down.  The Tail Walker also lets the Marshals know when their duty is done for the day and they can head for the café.

 

Today, Mackenzie and I completed Tail Walking volunteer number 3.  After checking in with Lisa, our RD this morning and donning our Hi-Vizs, there was just enough time for a trip to the zip wire before heading to the start line.  After the briefing, we were off.  It took a little time to establish who exactly was taking part in parkrun this morning and on occasion, Mackenzie and I had a little jog to catch up when we’d fallen behind.  Thank you to the runner who retrieved the tail which became detached at one point.  We’ll know for again to select the shorter of the two tails offered.  Thank you to those who gave us encouragement as you lapped us.  It makes such a difference and brings a smile and an incentive to volunteer again.  Thank you as well to Julie, our co-Tail Walker this morning, who kept us company and allowed us to sprint down the final straight to a new PB for Mackenzie.

Today, 358 of you ran, jogged or walked to an impressive 52 PBs on a rather hot morning. We welcomed 30 first timers and hope to see you all again.

 

So, if you’re recovering from injury or have races lined up for the Sunday or like me, want to complete parkrun with your child or simply fancy a walk to appreciate the scenery, why not volunteer to Tail Walk!

 

Heather THOMPSON

 

Run Report #224 – 17th August by Louise Dicicco

Whilst on holiday for two weeks in Italy and nowhere near a parkrun, what better way to feel part of it than by writing the run report for event #224!

We are in a remote village approximately 100km south of Rome, and although there are actually two parkruns in Rome, it would mean getting up at about 5am to drive there – I can’t justify that on holiday, especially when we have met up with lots of English friends in the village, and we don’t get to bed until at least 2am!  A few years ago I did bring by running kit, but it is so hot you’d have to get up really early to beat the heat, and that doesn’t work when you’ve had a very late night(or early morning).

Social Media is a great way to still feel part of the Market Harborough parkrun community when you’re not able to take part, and it has been great to read everyone’s stories of their forced tourism on 3rd August.  My tourism took me to Corby to complete my NENDY and also obtain a ‘C’ in my alphabet challenge, along with about 30 other Harborough parkrunners.  Although it was nice to try a different parkrun, it wasn’t quite the same as running in your local park, so I will be looking forward to returning to Welland Park on 24th August.

I also read with interest about the weather in the UK last weekend, and about various parkruns in danger of cancellation – it’s hard to believe when you’re experiencing 35°C heat.  Well done to everyone for their hard work to ensure that Market Harborough parkrun could go ahead safely.  It doesn’t look as if the flooding by the river had improved for this weekend either.

This now brings me onto this week’s parkrun.  I read on Facebook their appeal for various volunteers and saw that the Run Report Writer position was available, so I offered my services from afar. When I am at home, I find that parkrun is a huge part of my life and can’t imagine missing it; however, when you are on holiday, your routine is thrown completely out of the window and you lose track of days, so much so that I ‘forgot’ all about parkrunday.

Alas, when I checked Facebook later on today, I was soon reminded of what a wonderful community parkrun is, and I soon caught up on a few stories; from someone who wasn’t feeling the love for parkrun due to a poor night’s sleep, but soon overcame that once she ventured to Welland Park – to someone returning to Welland Park after almost a month off due to holidays/illness.

Whilst here, I’ve even spoken to a friend from Market Harborough who said she couldn’t possibly run 5k but having heard of the run/walk initiative felt positively encouraged and may even give it a go.

Well done to all 357 runners, joggers and walkers today who earned 49 PBs between them; there were 28 first timers of which 13 were starting their parkrun journey – welcome to Market Harborough parkrun; 38 volunteers made the magic happen; finally, well done to Jules C on joining the 100 club.

I can’t wait to see you all next week for event #225 and also the parkrun social on Sunday evening.

Louise Dicicco

 

Run Report #223 – 10th August by Lisa Penrose

After a heavy thunderstorm had flooded the Welland Park river the day before,
there was a late night meeting and early morning checks to make sure that the
route was safe before a decision was made to let the parkrun go ahead.

 
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the update on Facebook – it was a
hugely important run for me as it was my last opportunity to complete my
Running Down Dementia challenge to run 100k over 20 weeks.

 
My parkrun story began when after a particularly tough year trying to get my
mum to go to the doctors (as we feared she had been showing signs of early
stages of dementia for a while), culminated in finally getting a diagnosis just
before Christmas that she had both vascular dementia and Alzheimers’s disease.
A few of my Slimming World group friends offered to start doing parkrun with
me to help channel my emotions and also get some extra ‘body magic’. I found
that even just running 5k once a week gave me the time to think and process
everything going on with my mum (and other things in my life!).

 
In March, I saw an email announcing that Alzheimer’s Research UK had
partnered up with parkrun and set the Running Down Dementia challenge – so I
signed up and since then I have managed to raise over £400 so far!

 
The run today was very windy but with a bit of sunshine here and there. The
support from marshals and other runners was brilliant – the power boosting
high-fives (especially from Austin on the café corner!) were much needed going
into the headwind! The thing I love about MH parkrun is that because the route
laps 3 times and opposite directions run past each other quite closely in places, I
get to see and cheer on those at a different pace to me, friends who I knew before
and the familiar faces of other runners who have become friends through the
shared weekly joy/struggle.

 
I managed to push myself to do a final sprint towards the finish line, and
discovered that my Slimming World friends had handmade a special banner to
run through and a medal to celebrate the 100k achievement. It moved me to
tears to have such lovely support – couldn’t have done it without them!

 
Despite the heavy winds, new PBs were gained for 19 of the 344
runners/joggers/walkers took part, with a huge 36 being first timers! Well done
for the heroic efforts of all the volunteers who cleared away the mud from the
flooded areas and made it possible for all to enjoy yet another fantastic parkrun
in Market Harborough.

Lisa Penrose

 

Run Report #222 – 27th July 2019 by Anne Dawkins

Today was a new experience for me. Exactly 2 years since my parkrun journey began, I volunteered as a Marshall for the very first time. I’m a little ashamed of that, although I have volunteered at the junior event weekly for over a year now. I love seeing the kids and their parents so proud of their achievements and progress. So I thought today, after volunteering to write this week’s report, it would be a good time to view the adult event from a different perspective.
I’m thrilled to say each and every one of you runners, joggers and walkers did not disappoint. Smiles, high fives and thank yous were in abundance and very much appreciated. I was honoured to share in all your achievements. Smiles and thanks are infectious - fact!
Our parkrun community is a gem. I’ve met new people and stuck at something I never thought I’d be any good at and I belong to a group of people with the most extreme levels of the same skill. From the fastest finishers to the last in, we all challenge ourselves and achieve every Saturday. And volunteering is just as satisfying and addictive.  Today, it was great to see faces instead of backs, to see a new Couch to 5K initiative begin and barriers being broken down.
On a main summer holiday weekend, when the weather wasn’t the nicest, our lovely event achieved 306 runners, joggers and walkers - 14 attempted their first ever parkrun, we had 16 visitors to our beautiful park and 22 people got a PB! Immense stats I reckon.
Don’t forget there’s no Market Harborough parkrun or junior parkrun next weekend because there’s the food festival on in Welland Park. But that’s a great opportunity to so some parkrun tourism to a neighbouring event. Start studying the courses near and far and DON’T FORGET YOUR BARCODE!
Thank you and well done to everyone for making my Saturday morning wonderful, Anne.
PS if anyone missed it, there was a marvellous programme on TV last week. Dame Kelly Holmes extolling the virtues of parkrun, very heartwarming and motivating. Catch it on BBC iPlayer, you won’t regret it and you’ll feel proud you’re part of this amazing phenomenon.
 

Run Report #221 – 20th July 2019 by Sylvia Price

As I looked out my window of the morning of Saturday 20 July, knowing I was volunteering to write the run report for today’s parkrun, I was feeling a little apprehensive, but then I remembered that it was Stuart's first time as Run Director and thought that he must have been having far more apprehensive thoughts!

 

We arrived as usual in plenty of time (hubby was volunteering as finish tokens so we had to be on time).  I did my usual thing of hunting out my parkrun buddies – more to talk about than usual as our family had successfully completed the 3 peaks challenge this week (after an aborted attempt 6 weeks previous due to Storm Miguel) – that’s another story for another time though, but suffice to say that we are incredibly proud that we achieved the challenge in a very respectable time of 23 hours 8 minutes!

 

Anyway, back to the report – Roger began the announcements explaining about the major incident practice that was going to take place immediately after parkrun (such an important event as I remember my very first parkrun 4 years ago and the very first Market Harborough parkrun which actually did have a major incident).  I think we are so lucky and grateful that the core team at Market Harborough are such a fantastic bunch of individuals that keep the safety of our parkrun paramount.  Thank you.

 

It was then the turn of Stuart – the newest RD to climb the steps to begin his announcements – truly one small step for an RD but it could so easily have been one giant leap into the parkrunners as I really don’t trust those rickety steps at all!  He did a great debut performance, welcoming all newcomers, any tourists from far and near (of which there were quite a few) and congratulating all milestones.  There was also mention of parkrun in Market Harborough not taking place on Saturday 3rdAugust due to another event taking place in the park – so a good opportunity to get your parkrun fix elsewhere.

 

Countdown 3,2,1, lift off (or rather parkrun).  My legs today weren’t working as well as I’d of liked (I put that down to just climbing 3 highest mountains), but the run around the park was as awesome as ever, with the traditional high fives from the marshals and unexpected high fives from 3 children in the play area which really made me smile.  As I ran, I reflected on my past parkruns – thinking to myself that ‘we choose to do parkrun, not because it is easy, but because for some it is hard – because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win’ (JFK et al). In other words, parkrun for me has become part of my life, it’s not a race between other people, but I see it as an individual goal to strive to be better, or to do the best I can.

 

So in conclusion – I love my parkrun family – Roger and out! (Neil Armstrong et al)

 

A few statistics:

318 parkrunners ran, walked or jogged with us for event #221 with congratulations to the 24 of you who set new PBs.  Welcome to 14 First Timers, completely new to parkrun - several juniors and adults alike - we hope you keep coming back time and time again. And we hope the 19 touring First Timers enjoyed their trip around Welland Park, where the weather was fine and showed off the park beautifully.  Thank you also to all 35 fabulous volunteers who helped to make today's event happen.

 

 

Sylvia Price

 

Run Report #220 – 13th July 2019 by Stuart Beard

IMG-20190714-WA0014 Congratulations to the 359 runners enjoying Welland Park on Saturday, we had 39 first timers of which 13 were doing their first ever parkrun. A massive 63 PB’s too. Well done Tom King and Richard Robinson who entered the 50 parkrun club. I was unable to run, however, I wanted to share a taste of my ridiculous 100km Ultra. Why you ask? Well parkrun has reawakened my love of running, and the people I shared last Saturday’s experience with, I met at parkrun. Race to the Stones is a 100km ultra race along the ancient Ridgeway path, described as Britain’s oldest road, starting in Oxfordshire and culminating at the historic Avebury stone circle. It’s a race I’ve been training for all year, stepping up from a half marathon in January, Marathon in April and, my longest run of 35 miles in June but nothing could prepare me for 19 hours of putting one foot in front of the other. Our MH parkrun team was Leanne Shrive and I as runners, and Rob and Jules Chapman as support crew. We set out from our hotel near the finish at 6am with nervous anticipation, our 0805 start slot was only just reached as we became aware of the popularity of this event by the queues snaking back onto the M4. In lovely morning sun, but not too warm, we ran in the dappled shade of woodland. Maybe I relaxed too much because in less than 2 miles, I fell over! Fortunately I have falling over experience, and managed to tuck in my shoulder and roll out of it without any damage, I think no-one saw me. The opening section was mostly shady woodland, generally downhill towards the River Thames, but with tree roots a-plenty to be aware of. Here we experienced this event’s famous pit stops, roughly every 10km, a hubbub of sweet and salty snacks, massive bowsers of water and sports nutrition of every type. Each stop had a slightly varied offering and my body seemed to crave sugar and salt, so a large part of my calorie intake came from chocolate bars and plain crisps . At a third distance, we crossed the Thames and ran uphill onto the chalky Berkshire downs, a more typical section of the Ridgeway skirting south of Oxford and Swindon. The weather was kind, warm, but not overly so, and the sun drenched landscapes were alike works of art, if only we had the energy to enjoy them. Our strategy was to run downhill, walk uphill and run/walk the flats, which we continued to halfway at around teatime, here we could get some warm food and rest a little before taking on the second half.  As we tired we started to only run downhill, but the walking sections had to be a purposeful march, you can only think about maintaining forward motion and getting to the next pitstop. The real challenge was reaching pitstop 8, it had the longest gap at over 13km, it was substantially uphill, and night fell during this section. We knew reaching here was broke the back of the distance, and I for one felt uplifted by getting it behind us. Still we had 20km to go, it was pitch black, eerily quiet, and our running had more or less deserted us. However, we pushed on, knowing we had got this and, after periods of only seeing lights of other runners in the distance we started to encounter more and more. Our pace at this time was equivalent to a 51 minute parkun, but it was more than enough to reel in and pace 30 or 40 people in the last hour. The finish is an odd affair. With 2 miles to go you see the finish, and then run a mile past it, you continue to the edge of the Stone Circle, are photographed with 2 of the stones and return a mile back up the road around a large field and finally to the finish, 100km on road, gravel, packed earth, rutted track, lush grass and narrow footpath. An amazing event, a great experience. Believe me when I say that the cross section of runners running ultra’s is closer to those parkrunning than say a big 10k or city half marathon. Shapes and sizes are largely irrelevant, speed is unimportant. The ability to keep on going, manage your energy levels and eat regularly are key skills. May be someone reading this may be tempted and I would say go for it, but I won’t be there, that box has been well and truly ticked.

 

Run Report #218 – 28th June 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

Well it’s the half year point everyone, so time for a few statistics!! (immediately loses half the people who have clicked this far!  :) )

 

First a little review of parkrun number 218:

I had a lovely little walk / jog / run guiding young Alice around and trying to stay in the shade wherever possible.  It certainly was a hot one!

It was great to see so many parkrunners then enjoying the yoga with Paul after parkrun.

 

In total 6,946 unique parkrunners have now completed Market Harborough parkrun.

Among the 331 who completed parkrun event 218, we had:

- 331 parkrunners completing the course of whom:

  • 171 were male parkrunners;
  • 147 were female parkrunners; and
  • 13 were naughty unknown parkrunners who forgot their barcodes #DFYB!

From the 318 parkrunners obtaining times:

-32 achieved new PBs;

-17 were First Timers; of whom:

  • 10 were tourists from other parkruns
  • 7 started their parkrun journeys with us

Your event was kindly brought to you by 26 volunteers, of whom 5 also parkran (is that a new word?!).

Or if I put all that in another way…

RR 218

 

Now it’s July, the time is right to share some stats on the first half of 2019.  First up are those who have completed the most MH parkruns so far this year.  Congratulations to Alishia READ who only missed the first parkrun this year and is on a roll of 25 consecutive parkruns with us.

RR 218 most runs

 

Most PBs – and this time it’s Linda BENNETT out in front improving her PB from 39:51 down to 33:06.

RR 218 most PBs

 

It’s a familiar name topping the maximum age grade ratings!  Congratulations to Bernie OWEN whose 22:18 parkrun in June earned her a fantastic age grade of 89.54%.

RR 218 max age grade

 

Congratulations to our VI twins Lydia and Alice HAYDEN who are 1stand 3rdin our ‘most improved’ table, separated by Helen CRANE.  Congrats all.

RR 218 time improvement

 

Where would we be without Austin?  He’s only missed on parkrun this year, closely followed by our joint Junior parkrunner of the year (no longer a junior!), Matt PRIESTLEY.  Thank you to everyone who appears on this table, we couldn’t do it without you.

RR 218 volunteers

 

Sometimes people don’t realise, but every parkrun has a ‘fastest 500’ list and the following shows those MH parkrunners who have entered or moved up the fastest 500 set of times in the first half of this year.  Great running all!  Wayne, your PB the other day of 20:27 was agonisingly one second off the list!

RR 218 - fastest 500

 

Well that’ll do for this Run Report.

 

As a reminder, you don’t have to be a stats nerd to write a Run Report, your style, your length, photos, no photos – it’s entirely up to you, just let us know in advance that you’d like to have a go.

Many thanks

Roger

 

Roger Pangbourne

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